Barbary Station is a thrilling sci-fi adventure about space pirates and a homicidal AI

In the opening of her debut novel Barbary Station, R.E. Stearns drops her readers into the midst of a thrilling heist of a colonial spaceship traveling through the solar system — and that’s just the first chapter. What follows is a fantastic, lightning-fast space opera that serves as both a fantastic thriller with a cast of well-drawn characters, and a wonderful sandbox of a world that I can’t wait to revisit over and over again.

A couple of centuries from now, humanity has colonized the solar system, scattering colonies across moons, asteroids, and planets. Humanity fought a devastating interplanetary war that’s left behind refugees across the solar system, as well as rogue mercenary and pirate crews preying on ships owned by the…

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The UK’s cybersecurity agency issued a new guidance to ministries about using Russian antivirus software

On Friday, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a new guidance for how the country’s various ministries should closely manage their use of antivirus software supplied by a foreign nation, such as Russia’s Kaspersky Lab.

In a letter to to heads of government ministries, NCSC CEO, Ciaran Martin said that organizations “need to be vigilant to the risk that an [antivirus] product under the control of a hostile actor could extract sensitive data from that network, or indeed cause damage to the network itself.” He went on to specifically call out Russia, noting that the country is a “highly capable cyber threat actor which uses cyber as a tool of statecraft,” and that in instances where government agencies have information…

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Apple’s HomePod isn’t about Siri, but rather the future of home audio

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Introduced this summer at WWDC17, Apple’s HomePod was immediately positioned next to Amazon Echo and Google Home by bloggers as a "smart speaker" serving primarily as a way to chat with a voice assistant. But that’s not how Apple introduced it.
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Watch: ‘Black Mirror’ season four trailers will freak you out about tech

Netflix has released four trailers this week for its latest season of “Black Mirror,” a series that treads the line between science fiction and documentary. Season four so far is filled with plenty of our favorite dystopian tech tropes, including online dating and memory harvesting.

One thing they all have in common is that they will give you a good scare about the future, which really is the point of “Black Mirror.”

There’s no release date for the six-episode season yet, but you can watch all four trailers here:

“Hang the DJ”

“Black Museum”



Recode – All

NASA Scientist Says We Need to Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse

Phantom Planet

For over twenty years, rumors have circulated about a celestial body known as Nibiru or Planet X that could supposedly spell doom for Earth. Unfortunately (conspiracy theorists at least) there’s simply no truth to the idea.

Several different theories exist concerning how Nibiru might threaten our planet. It’s been argued that it could smash into us, or throw off our orbit, or bring forth a cavalcade of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tidal waves. However, all of this seems rather unlikely, given that the scientific consensus — which is that Nibiru doesn’t exist. A point NASA scientist David Morrison recently attempted to drive home in a podcast interview with Science Alert.

“Nibiru, I don’t know any scientists, any astronomers, who take that very seriously,” Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for the SETI Institute, told Futurism. “If that planet existed, the evidence would be very obvious that it exists. There is no such evidence. It’s like saying, ‘Hey, what happened in my dream, it’s probably real.’ Unless you have better evidence than having a dream about it, it’s probably not real.”

Brian Koberlein, an astrophysicist and physics professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, added that not only is there no evidence in support of the planet’s existence – there’s actually evidence against it. As he told Futurism, “We’ve done sky surveys that absolutely prove that there isn’t something like that.”

“It’s pretty easy to demonstrate that the idea that there’s a very large planet – as large as the Earth, or larger – that visits the inner solar system every several thousand years, that’s pretty easy to disprove,” said Shostak. “That would have disrupted the orbits of planets of the inner solar system a long, long time ago. Billions of years ago. They would still be disrupted, you would still see the effects of that. Not only that, but you’d have a good chance of just seeing it, and nobody has.”

Koberlein puts Nibiru in the same category as flat Earth theories. “There is a movement of pushing back against scientific ideas,” he explained. Koberlein believes part of the problem is the way scientific findings are presented; at times sensationalized or misrepresented.

“I think it’s more of an attitude of anti-scientific elitism,” said Koberlein. “I think it does have some implications in terms of, the more those ideas are fed, the less likely people are to pay their taxes toward scientific research or something like that, and that does impact us.”

Apocalypse: Cancelled

While it might be human to get caught up worrying about doomsday scenarios we can’t control — not least of all those involving some mysterious celestial body capable of causing death and destruction —everything we know about the cosmos suggests that Nibiru is little more than a scary story.

“In terms of the present moment, there is no ‘doomsday scenario from the skies’ that is coming. If you’re talking about Nibiru, or a large rock coming to Earth, anything large enough to have a global impact is so large that we know it’s not there. We can rule out any of it.”

Koberlein acknowledges that it is possible a rock large enough to destroy a town or even a small city could be overlooked: for instance, if the Chelyabinsk meteorite had hit at a steeper angle, the damage could have been quite serious. However, the chances of an event like that are still very slim, as these celestial objects gone astray typically hit non-populated areas, and rarely hit the ground.

“We haven’t found everything, but we know that big impacts occur, and we know that it’s possible,” Koberlein told Futurism, adding that “In terms of anything of size that’s large-scale, there’s nothing out there that’s going to hit us, or anything similar to that – there’s no supernova that’s close enough to fry the Earth, we don’t have some star collision, there’s not any gravity waves that’s gonna kill us or anything like that. To the best of our knowledge, we’re safe.”

Given that there are serious threats to the Earth’s well-being that we can prove, and for which there is abundant scientific evidence, we have plenty to worry about.

The post NASA Scientist Says We Need to Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse appeared first on Futurism.